Although many people outside the walls of creative agencies probably assume that designing business websites is an entirely artistic affair, that’s not always the case. To be sure, there are the odd moments of inspiration and unfettered creativity that make working on websites a joy, but there are also cold business realities to deal with.
As a business owner or marketing manager, your challenge is to get past the art you see when you think of business websites – especially when it comes to portfolios and sample layouts – and also consider some of the numbers that will be so important for the future of your company.
Here are just a few of the figures and details you should pay attention to in a web designer’s proposal:
The fee you’re being charged for your business website. While this is an obvious one, and probably the first place your eye is going to go to, there’s no denying that evaluating the upfront cost of your new business website as an expense is important. Take a look not only at the figure you see, but also the payment terms listed. Are they clear? Can you work them into your marketing budget?
The number of pages included in your site. Generally speaking, this wouldn’t be a major sticking point, but you do want to ensure that what you are seeing on your business web design proposal matches the end product you’re expecting.
The number of days or weeks needed to complete your business website. Time is always money, in one form or another. You might think there isn’t a big difference between having your new website launched in three weeks or three months, but every day that passes could mean a missed opportunity. And on the other hand, an unrealistic timeframe could indicate that your business web design team isn’t experienced, or may not be planning to give your project the attention it deserves.
The amount of time included for things like revisions and support. In theory, your new business website should be perfect the moment it’s launched; in reality, there may be changes, minor additions or edits, and other kinds of support that are needed later on. Figure out whether these are included in your proposal, or what they will cost if you need them.
And then, there is the most important number of all: the return on investment you expect from your website redesign. While this might not be listed explicitly on your proposal, you can still look a bit deeper to see whether all the work you’re paying for is likely to lead to an increase in sales and exposure later.
Look closely at items like search engine optimization, online advertising, e-mail marketing, social media consulting, and other marketing or promotional types of activities that are being included as part of your new business website. The more of them you see – and the greater commitment your web design team is showing towards making your company successful online – the bigger your return on investment is likely to be.
A lot of the best business websites have some really great artistic flair behind them. Before you hire someone to launch yours, however, make sure that the numbers on your proposal are just as inspired.